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Women Have a Tanning Salon Addiction

Addiction does not always include mind altering chemical substances like drugs and alcohol. Process addictions are the various addictions in which a woman becomes addicted to something other than a chemical substance. These addictions are more about the process of the focus itself, rather than the end result or the thing itself. Sex and gambling are two of the most well known process addictions. Other compulsive behaviors like shopping addiction, pornography addiction, and more are gaining scientific inquiry. Process addictions like tanning salon addiction, for example, are met with criticism and doubt. Increasingly, researchers are becoming aware that an addiction, in the sense of a dependency on something which results in symptoms of withdrawal without it, can develop in relation to many obscure processes and substances. Few process addictions get scientific and media attention.

Tanning is an activity American women take part in for various reasons. For women who may suffer with seasonal affective disorder in the winter, tanning can be a supplementary practice. Most often, however, the practice of regularly going to a tanning salon is more vain than practical. Tan skin of varying shades holds certain cultural and societal status. Being tan indicates having time to be tan, going on vacations to be tan- a hallmark of luxury and classism. People go to tanning salons before a vacation where they will catch a tan in order to create a ‘base’ tan. Sometimes this is more practical than being too pale on vacation- a base tan can prevent severe sunburn from taking place. Tanning is not without its risks as it has been connected to a high threat of melanoma. For a large percentage of women, a study indicates, the health risk is of little concern.

The American Association for Cancer Research published a study on women and tanning behaviors. Out of 400 women surveyed who had gone to a tanning salon within the last 12 months, 22.6 percent met the criteria for a dependency on the tanning practice. The tanning addiction was deeply connected to symptoms of depression, as well as values about appearance.